Gardening on a budget, Home Craft, Recycling

Lining Hanging Baskets

Todays small project is about re-cycling old hanging baskets, I have several wicker style which were heading to bug house heaven. Also I had acquired several metal baskets without hanger chains, the end result were combining the two and creating several wired baskets which I could plant up with my surplus plants.

Effectively I wanted a hanging pumpkin and salad garden to add to our decked area which would eventually trail down. The cost of basket likers at a pound each put me off, there are several ways that you can find using home items to save excess spending.

Bin liners, circles of carpet, or as I had found a woven tarpaulin for a pound seemed ideal. After using a large pot as a template I found the perfect size and cut out several to fit into the baskets, once lined I added compost, chains and hung them out with a selection of plants.

A few I added lettuce, salad leaves around the circumference, the small crop will be finished as the pumpkin establishes itself in the basket, perfect place to grow in a small garden. I also tried, mini popcorn, runner beans and pumpkin, the idea being to trail production down.

They are growing well at the moment, however they will require a good feeding routine to produce fruit. All in all a pound tarpaulins would line ten baskets, a saving of nine pound, I prefer this to using plastic as the woven material drains well, supporting the growth of the plants and requires no further work once planted.

So if you find yourself a few spare baskets try your own vertical allotment: courgettes, radishes and beetroot as with most vegetables can be grown in a hanging basket. Whether  flowers or trailing vegetables, the possibilities are endless…

Happy  Horticulture!

Cheryl

 

 

Gardening on a budget, Writing

Easter Treats!

The sun is blazing again today, but after our adventure yesterday we will be pottering around the garden! My seedlings finally finding their spaces, I have been searching for places to visit in our next holiday time! Fortunately I have stumbled across a little bargain which will make up for our two weeks nesting at home!

The visuals from yesterday still bright in my mind I am looking forward to getting the pool out at home and watching the family enjoy their own space. We had looked at another place to visit today but instead we will save it for tomorrow, and enjoy a quiet day in.

This week I have been donated some seeds from a friend including Berlotti beans, blue crown prince pumpkin seeds, and a carrot array for my husband who seems to enjoy setting the seeds in the boxes he graciously built for me.

I have set some Mahonia seeds this week which I collected from one of my two plants in the garden, hopefully the warm weather will spur them on and I will have some new plants to utilise. These provide winter blooms and seeds, so they are great for birds and early insects when everything else has died back.

The extra seedlings I will set today with a little help from my children, I am hoping for a few more fruit this year. looking at the weather I am hoping for a warm spell to bring everything on to fill the spaces the recent frost made. Whatever I grow I can share, but the space I have at the allotment there is plenty of room for extra seedlings!

So as my Husband returns with our Easter Eggs for the children, I will leave you with another snapshot from our day out, have a Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Cheryl

If you have a few hours to spare, Check out my previous posts and craft an Easter egg Brooders!

Allotment, Gardening on a budget, Propagation

Sowing Plug Plants!

As my seedlings take their time to grow on in the greenhouse, a few weeks of unusual weather has set them back, but with little sign of damage I decided to start our holidays with a visit to the Garden centre!

This place has a fabulous play area, so for me I find it the perfect compromise as I can search through the plants and they can follow the amazing dinosaur trail and spend some time in the park. On this trip I set off to choose a few trays of plug plants to allow the family to plant some crops into the raised beds as ours matures to a stronger size.

The shelves were a disappointment with very few varieties available, I ended up with mini pop corn, Pak choi, Brussel sprouts and Kale. I had hoped for some cauliflower or broccoli but obviously these had been purchased or overlooked. After a wander around and play we set off home through the villages and after the shop tomatoes being very small, I had seen a home sign for plants for sale and stopped to purchase four of the main varieties, Gardeners delight and Money maker.

Yesterday our plot visit was designed for the children to plant these and water them in, I found them a great little project and they did a fantastic job setting them in place as I cleared the old crops and set in the new. After around 40 minutes the new plants were in and after a quick water up we were home, refilling the plug pant trays with alternate varieties of the crops we had sown.

Having a huge seed selection, I chose a variety of Brussel sprout, Pak choi, Beetroot and potted on my Popcorn planters sweetcorn into the shop trays. This is a good way to offset crops to over winter as you harvest the first of your shop bought crops, late starters will be ready for a successional crop.

After setting a selection of Jack o’ lantern pumpkins and Atlantic giants to replace those taken in the unusual frosts, these I have set in larger pots and will not plant until they have their true leaves. I set a few salad trays with ‘Princess of India’; Nasturtiums and a pale yellow calendula variety and some mixed cosmos as those I had set in my planters are yet to germinate.

Once they were watered by my youngest I left them on the bench for a cool night to be placed in the greenhouse today! This will hopefully encourage them to grow as the warmer days set in! Our greenhouse is full of promise, tomatoes, early purple and a mass of cucurbit treasures which will need potting on shall be our project this week so by our next holiday we should be sowing an abundance of crops in our allotment beds.

So today with the sun shining, I have moved a few trays of established plants and set the new ones to warm in the greenhouse. The new plants growing in our soil, adding to the collection of crops we are trying this year, potatoes sown are yet to show but an investment in a hose adapter to our water tank will allow me to water the patch while the weather is dry.

So, hopefully you will have set some seeds of your own… spring is a perfect time for clearing and mulching whether in the allotment or at home.

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

Gardening on a budget, Writing

Spring Garden!

Some times I find I need space from technology! After a few weeks of family focussed work I found inspiration in the garden, and echoing the growth in our life I found the light perfect to show the blooms of our garden. The Orchard flowers are beginning to appear on the tree’s, the plum has already been pollinated, but the later harvested fruit are just showing their white beauty.

The Ribes and clematis have 6 foot between them which I plan to sow some flower seeds between but along the fence they greet and gather, I love the clematis as it flowers twice a year and they blooms smell off strawberry chocolate. The archway it initially clambered has all but gone, however the tree like stem still holds the rambling arch strongly.

Our little decked area set for the children is still amazing this time of year, the combination of bamboo’s, ferns and my favourite ‘Bloodgood’ Acer which has flourished in its sheltered position. After adding mulch throughout the base of our planted and play areas around the garden it has created a relaxing woodland feel which the family enjoy playing in whilst searching for their holiday treats.

It seems and age away from when it was first planted, and today it still activates their imagination. A space for them to search for insects, grow their plants and create, priceless to see how they have blossomed and skilled in their own knowledge and confidence.

After a quiet afternoon enjoying the sunshine!

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

Allotment, Gardening on a budget, Writing

Spring Preparations!

So my previous post mentioned our visit to clear and fill the new space, the twenty minutes work was enough to complete despite the rainfall! It would have taken much longer if I had not taken the time to clear it last summer, leaving the weed bags as a cover I had very little couch grass to remove. So now again another space ready for the many seedlings we have sown this year!

As you can see these are decking edged beds, which I was looking to replace with scaffolding boards but for this year I will repair if required. Cardboard will reduce the weeds that come through and absorb water so eventually it will become part of the soil. This space however was perfect so it will be planted with our onion sets that are chitting in our green house.

The Autumn Garden set last October is still thriving as you can see the flowers are still thriving in all of my decking pots! The investment has given us colour for the winter season and beyond, valuable over the darker season. I have found that the new spring plants are surviving the extremely wet weather and will hopefully bulk out for next year!

Along with the seedlings which are germinating in much colder conditions than I expected showing that Brassicas and Cabbages can grow in the lowest light levels and coldest conditions! Which is probably why previous years attempts on warmer windowsills have struggled! So for me I will be sowing a few more successional sets I a weeks time to maximise our growing of the over wintering favourites.

The Crocosmia is beginning to show new shoots, I shall be dividing the different growing areas this year as they have grown well! Our Garden is established and the forest style mixed with evergreens and ornamental structures of bamboos add an architectural element even when the plants are relatively young!

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

Gardening on a budget, Grow Your Own, Writing

GYO; Orchard Visitors

Several years ago now I made a decision to plant four fruit tree’s in the main square of our garden, at the cost of around £35, our little orchard has blossomed and this morning as I sat I was happy to see an abundance of birds foraging the branches for food.

It has been a while since we have had a lot of visitors, The Robin was here a few weeks back, followed by the return of our resident blackbirds who nest in the laurel. Today the great and Blue tits were cleaning the buds of the plum tree, whilst several goldfinches foraged around our Buddleia tree.

Wood pigeons and collared doves often sit the fence line, peering down into the garden occasionally landing to search the garden floor. They have been visitors since my arrival here and I still enjoy hearing them call. My most favourite are the Goldfinches, their vibrant plumage and rarity over the years make them VIP’s when they arrive. After a few years one of our bird boxes attracted Blue tit pair, nesting or visiting it is satisfying to see the garden several years on, highlighting their frequent visits on dull days to my youngest.

So, today as I view them again it is as though I am seeing them for the first time! It is wonderful how small ideas to provide blossom, fruiting providing a mass harvest throughout the summer can become a haven for Butterflies and garden birds in winter without the usual additions we provide to feed them through nesting times! The natural banquet out shines any extra’s I provide…

If you have space away from feline friends, add a Butterfly house, bee box, bat box or Bird house! Sometimes a little outlay is priceless! In summer I created my own Bird finder and insect hunt for the children to use…

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

 

Gardening on a budget, Grow Your Own, Propagation, Recycling

GYO; Popcorn Planter!

Every now and again we have a movie night! This usually means a few extra treats which often includes popcorn, the last of which I purchased a large plastic container full from Iceland for a few pounds. As someone who re-purposes most plastics I have been trying to devise the best use for this large clear plastic container.

Planting Sweetcorn;

After a little thought I decided on a few planting possibilities, the most obvious being planting Sweetcorn or Flint corn in to grow for this year. Obviously if filling with around three inches of soil I can plant around 25 seeds easily and use the plastic lid as a cloche cover.

Planting root vegetables;

A clear pot allows you to see how things grow underneath, I thought about growing potatoes but as sunlight makes them toxic and green it is obviously not the best choice unless you have a window tint wrap to show growth and block out the light! Also carrots are another contender as they grow gradually and can be checked over a long period to document growth.

Mixed Planting;

Another idea was to place a potato in the bottom, three different types of tomato and five sweetcorn. All of these crops have different space requirements but for a small garden space would allow a large variety of crops in a small space. I feel this is one way I will use the containers I have collected lately so all of the children can grow a few varieties and track their growth over the holidays.

I have used large pots which I decorated with their names, over the last few years to allow the children to compete growing their own potatoes, additionally growing on a tomato seedling at the top until ready for planting in the ground.

Flower Planter;

If you enjoy flowers over vegetables, adding a cane tripod would allow you to train, sweet peas, while still having space for a few sunflower plants. Whatever plants you enjoy a large container whether it a pot, popcorn container or a bucket, the growing options are endless!

So next time you have a movie night! think ahead and if the cost effective way is unfortunately plastic, at least it can be re-purposed time and again without being sent straight to landfill. However if you can grow a small cornfield, in the container and create your own popcorn, it is another project that can create something unique.

If you enjoy a little art, remove labels using warm water and add your own personal touches in markers or paint!

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

Gardening on a budget, Grow Your Own, Propagation

GYO – Sowing 2019

This week has been busy, in a few hours I successfully planted a range of cucurbit seeds, peas and beans with our children. The tomato seedlings are now in and sweetcorn so another round of Brassica seeds will be in order to fill the pots and get the basic crops covered. I have some lemon balm, sunflower, calendula and nasturtium seeds which will be the floral focus this year, as for us all they were a wonderful addition to our crop and provided an abundance of free seeds.

I have divided and potted on our Aloe plant, which had grown several new plants on our windowsill, as you can see from one pot I collected an abundance of new plants to pot up around the house. I find them a fantastic houseplant for both visual and care purposes as they require very little attention. I love the variegated colour and their spiral extension reservoirs, so in a sunny afternoon it took no time at all to produce a nice selection of pots. The parent plants which are now giants I shall repot this week as they are out growing their pot.

So my labels written and my pots planted I am happy to be enjoying the warm weather outside with my family!

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

Allotment, Gardening on a budget, Writing

HORT – Winter Garden!

Today looks a perfect day for digging over my pumpkin bed, but as usual the day has almost gone before I even think of venturing outside! the winter sun is elusive and the reality of an hours digging although tempting would mean leaving our youngest at home in the warm! This would not be a problem if she was a little older but for now I am enjoying the time at home, first smiles and babbles are blissful! I love how she snuggles on  my chest as though she was still inside my stomach, peaceful and content as always!

My daughters are fascinated by the Crochet flower centre I created, I may make a small mobile for her to focus on while she has floor time. I hate the weather this time of year, I long for warmer days to, open up the patio and enjoy our outdoor spaces. It is at the moment a fleeting visit usually as after ten minutes they are back in within a few minutes. I can see the buds on the trees and shrubs just forming along the branches, the frost killing off potential pests I am looking forward to another amazing harvest!

The front garden of grasses, shrubs and bulbs is host to insects and birds with this in mind I leave the deciduous grasses to brown. This allows the insects somewhere to shelter, I will leave it until the frosts are gone and cut them back. I look forward to my Daffodils and tulips as they increase gradually every year! The highlight of winter is the Pampass grass and Mahonia, the flower spikes are strong and last throughout the winter season and the yellow flowers provide colour until they generate their seeds which are just beginning to form now!

Every year I divide and take cuttings from my garden, I shall take some as I do my first prune of the shrubs, placing them aside until later in the year. These I tend to donate to friends and family for their gardens or allotments. It is something I get great satisfaction from and costs no more than the time, soil and plant pot in which it is taken in.

I started making a mandala, I found a pattern but again found it easier to work from eye. I shall practice crocheting pattern squares to improve my skills. Between chores, sniffles and Neve’s needs I am grateful to have time to try something new. I will be planting Tomato seedlings soon but for now I will watch the sunlight dapple across the tree’s in the garden, and enjoy my time at home!

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

 

Allotment, Gardening on a budget, Grow Your Own, Propagation

GYO – Winter Planning!

Today (Monday!) was meant to be allotment day! however with a house full of colds and house bound children I have sent my husband to check the site, as we have not been for a few weeks. I have still some beans and peas to sow, I am building a book for my Son and daughter for choosing home tasks, with a little poetic narrative and visual prompts to support learning areas, I hope to use it through summer. I cannot type up any of my other work (Entertaining little gem…who is finally participating in daytime!)

So today I am nursing, reading and researching while I have a moment to sit! Waiting for fabric panels and moulds to arrive, hoping for a good report from the allotment…

The afternoon arrived with the news that my plot has needed a few things repairing but as the pictures show to say our last visit was before Christmas it is looking pretty good. The water tank is still half full, pipework intact the felt may require looking at to ensure it is all getting to the guttering, we collected a massive roll for £15 last year so as with the summerhouse the roof will be looked at on the next sunny day.

The fence despite its deep footings had required fixing again, however my husband secured it before we left to ensure our first visit is one of work and not maintenance;

Spring Jobs;

  1. Paint shed and fencing.
  2. Dig main land beds.
  3. Purchase scaffolding boards
  4. Find 15 slabs
  5. Remove rooted brambles
  6. Collect nettles for the water feed barrel
  7. Check compost in centre bin (2 years on)
  8. Cut grass and edgings
  9. Dig potato bed
  10. Clear winter plants

To mention a few, my decking board beds barely lasted a year so I have decided to make the three beds stronger and deeper to reduce weed growth and the longevity of the space. I hope to use the compost dug from the first year to fill the new beds as it has been left composting for two years now, it should be ready for use.

As my husband but spade to the ground which gave off a fabulous ringing sound, so I am at peace knowing that I can enjoy my work at home without worrying about preparing the space! The ground is frozen solid as the video of him raking showed, there was no need fretting not even a centimetre of movement.

My broad beans, Brussels and Brassicas are still growing on nicely, I will either have a harvest or extra seeds so, whichever I harvest it shall not be wasted. My new seedlings already for potting on in the kitchen are soon to be moved into a cloche outside, and I am looking forward to setting tomato seeds, Peppers and chilli’s this weekend. As I find these will grow well indoors until the frost clears, then they can be set outside in the green house when the temperature warms.

I have found our old supplier of manure who supplies 60l bags, donating a percentage received to our favourite horse charity, so when we can I will be collecting around twenty as I know a few people who will not get around to collecting their own! I shall enjoy trench manuring the bed for the pumpkin and sweetcorn bed, as that will be two years of nutrients into our main beds through crop rotation. It also builds up the soil levels from the first dig ensuring you do not have low ground beds.

My four raised beds are sat waiting for old crops to be removed and seedlings to be set in, along with our cloche beds these will allow us the ability to grow a variety of crops without the addition of covers and cloches.

On the restructuring of the strawberry beds, I plan to slab the area outside of the shed as it is the perfect place to sit and work. This bed has been broken due to the constant walking around and I would like a space for the children to sit and draw or paint while we are working on other areas. This space is south westerly so in the warm days we can set our parasol and ensure a space that they can sit out of the heat of the sun.

The joy of winter is preparing for another spring!…Another season of growing!

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl